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Messages - rbowers

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Beer Recipes / Re: Hefe + Berliner Weisse big batch
« on: August 25, 2015, 12:07:55 AM »
Thanks for the advice guys.  I will sit on it another week or two at least.

Beer Recipes / Re: Hefe + Berliner Weisse big batch
« on: August 23, 2015, 09:53:06 PM »
Update: so the souring didn't quite go so well with my lacto brevis starter (very slow going) and on day 4 or 5 I threw in a pouch of Omega lacto blend split between the two 5 gallons.  They were not kidding about fast souring.  While it took 4-5 days to get from 4.6 to 4.2 with L. Brevis, the omega blend (or a combined effort of both strains) dropped it to 3.6 in about 30 hrs.  I transferred it back to the kettle for a short boil, cooled to ~70F, and pitched US05 to one 5gal portion and WLP351 to the other. After 9 days in the primary the gravity is down to ~1.008 and signs of fermentation have stopped.  Tastes nice and sour.  The FG seems slightly higher than I'd like but I imagine it will come across even crisper with carbonation and cooler temps.  Any ideas on how to drop the gravity a few more points?  I think the Sacc is done.  Simply adding sterile water I guess is an option but have never done this.  Brett I assume will take awhile and not really looking to add it. 
Half of this is destined for some blackberries, the other half plain.  I am assuming the blackberry sugars will ferment out completely and not really affect the gravity but correct me if that's a bad assumption.

Yeast and Fermentation / Re: Lactobacillus and starsan
« on: August 11, 2015, 07:42:28 PM »
So brew day went pretty well.  I have two batches of BW with lacto starters added and I am holding them at reasonably stable temps (100-110).  After 48hrs I decided to take a sample and the pH is only down to 4.6 and 4.5.  The podcast at the NHC I listened to seemed to suggest pH would be plummeting by day 2 or 3.  I had purchased a pH meter but unfortunately it didn't show up till yesterday so I was stuck with pH strips on the brew day which were not very helpful.  Original wort pH was around 5.2-5.4.  I added 1 tsp of 88% lactic acid and kinda chickened out on adding anymore.  Repeat pH per test strips was hard to interpret.  Would a single tsp of lactic acid added to 11gal of wort drop pH much?

It seemed like there was a fair amount of activity in the airlock (more than expected but not as aggressive as a primary yeast fermentation) so I assume something is going on.  Assuming this strain produces some CO2???

Specific Gravity today was roughly unchanged (not sure it is supposed to/expected to change with lacto)

It tastes not the least bit acidic which is frustrating.

So now I am at 48hrs of attempted wort souring, what to do?  Wait another 3-4 days?  I have a pack of Omega labs lacto so could always pitch that and see what happens.  Any advice?

General Homebrew Discussion / Lactic acid and ph adjustment
« on: August 09, 2015, 02:52:26 PM »
Going to brew my first Berliner weisse today and had a question about using lactic acid to adjust pH.  I will be souring the wort with L. Brevis for 4-5 days and boiling again prior to adding the primary yeast.  From what I've read, it seems to be suggested that the pH of the wort is lowered to 4.5 or so prior to adding lactobacillus to facilitate its growth as well as prevent other nasty bacteria from taking hold before the pH can be lowered by lacto. 

Is there any way to calculate how much lactic acid (88% strength) to add to ~11 gallons of wort to get the pH down around 4.5?  I guess I don't know my starting pH yet (assume 5.3-5.5 maybe???) which I'm sure affects the answer.  Just looking for additional advice.  Is this just kind of a "test and see" type thing?  What's a good increment to start with?

Yeast and Fermentation / Re: Lactobacillus and starsan
« on: August 08, 2015, 01:31:40 AM »
regarding the eyeball- yes I just poured out a nickel or quarter sized amount in a medium sized tupperware container and filled with water.  I would guess its more concentrated than a five gallon bucket mixed up with recommended amount but likely no more than twice as concentrated.

Yeast and Fermentation / Lactobacillus and starsan
« on: August 07, 2015, 07:26:58 PM »
I had a lacto starter all set for a Berliner Weiss brew day for next week.  I had some star San solution in the airlock and it appears (after placing in fridge to keep) that some star San was sucked back into the starter.  Knowing that starsan is an acid based sanitizer is there any reason to think adding a small portion to the starter by accident will annihilate the lacto which probably was already in an acidic solution from the lacto fermentation?  It was about a 1.75 L starter.  Concentration of the starsan solution unknown- just eyeballed it.

Beer Recipes / Re: Hefe + Berliner Weisse big batch
« on: July 29, 2015, 06:52:06 PM »
So I have a lacto starter (L. Brevis) going.  I plan to use the Caudil method which I have since researched and sour the wort for a period of time prior to pitching the usual yeast. Using taste but also pH as a measurement of when to add the usual yeast, what is an optimal pH to let it drop to before pitching?  I want it sour enough to where the finished beer will have a nice strong sour flavor but also need to have the pH high enough so the yeast can do its job well.  Probably going to use US05 in 5 gal and WLP 300 for another 5 gal (going to just make 10 gal of BW and do away with original idea).

Yeast and Fermentation / Re: Lacto Souring
« on: July 19, 2015, 12:28:45 AM »
Actually don't have a bucket lying around that isn't scratched beyond recognition or been utilized for something else other than brewing.  Went with the kegs just because I have several empty ones lying around and it makes transfers with CO2 real easy on the low back (which isn't to strong these days).

Yeast and Fermentation / Lacto Souring
« on: July 18, 2015, 10:59:30 PM »
Planning on brewing a Berliner Weisse and souring using lactobacillus brevis.  I wanted to try kettle souring (well actually "fermentor souring"), tossing a starter of pure lacto into the wort for a few days until appropriate sourness obtained.  It sounds like getting a really oxygen deplete environment is best for this part and I contemplated doing this in a CO2 purged corny keg.  My question is: should I expect significant CO2 buildup?  Will it be enough to simply burp the keg every 12 hrs or so?  From my research is sounds like L. Brevis can be heterofermentative and produce both alcohol and CO2, just not sure how much.
 Benefits to doing this in the keg would be easy sampling (just put a picnic tap on keg) to hit the sourness just right.  I'm not looking to make some co2 bomb in the garage though.  Any thoughts?
Also is there any benefit to boiling after the lacto is done to sterilize wort?  I don't mind some continued acidification/souring of the wort to go along with the primary sach fermentation.  Can't think of any other reason to do this step.

Beer Recipes / Re: Hefe + Berliner Weisse big batch
« on: May 20, 2015, 10:10:46 PM »
Sounds good.  Any advice on getting a nice sour character in the BW?  I've read about pitching milled grains, pitching a pure lacto culture, or doing a sour mash (which wouldn't work too well given plans to use same mash for the Hefeweizen).  I guess you can also add lactic acid but I'm told that can be one dimensional. I'm a big fan of sour beers so I definitely want a presence of acidity rather than just a hint.

Beer Recipes / Hefe + Berliner Weisse big batch
« on: May 20, 2015, 06:34:04 PM »
I get less and less time to brew these days so when given the chance I have been trying to get two batches in.  This is easiest to do if I can brew two batches from one base beer.  Lately I've been contemplating a Hefeweizen/Berliner Weisse combo.  Both can have similar malt bills.  I would boil the entire batch briefly, pull off the Berliner portion after minimal hopping, then continue on with a full boil for the Hefeweizen.  This would result in a lower OG for the Berliner and a higher one for the Hefeweizen which would fall in line with typical characteristics of both styles.  Has anyone else done something similar or have comments on if this can work.  I'm also open to other combo suggestions.  This would be my first attempt at either style.

Kegging and Bottling / Re: Cold Crashing (keg vs fermenter)
« on: May 20, 2015, 12:29:10 AM »
If you have an extra keg you can cut 1-2 inches off the end of the dip tube and use this as a cold crashing keg.  Rack from primary to this keg and crash.  Once you're satisfied that everything has dropped out you just rack to a new keg- all the trub/yeast/etc will be below the end of the tube and nothing but clear beer gets transferred.  I do this when lagering as well.  Works great.  Only down side is you may lose a beer or two. 

Kegging and Bottling / Force carbonating temperature
« on: May 20, 2015, 12:18:59 AM »
I have always kept my CO2 tank inside the keezer and force carbed the beers at a corresponding pressure knowing that both the beer and CO2 tank were the same temperature.  I need to move the tank out of the keezer now for needed room, so it will be closer to ambient (~75-80F) temps.  Will this affect anything or do I just set the dial at my usual number based on corresponding beer temp?  Probably a stupid question but thought I'd ask.

Equipment and Software / Shurflo pumps for cold transfers
« on: May 06, 2015, 06:35:16 PM »
Does anyone have any opinions regarding the shurflo pumps you can find on some of the online shops?  I have a bad back with a few bulging discs and lifting carboys for gravity induced transfers from primary to secondary or secondary to keg are difficult/not ideal.  I have transferred under small amounts of CO2 pressure and while effective this is somewhat cumbersome and seems a tad risky.
Specifically does anyone have any recs regarding how easy these are to clean?  I've got some brett beers floating around from time to time and would hope to be able to sanitize the pump by circulating some starsan or the like for awhile. 

The prices on the online shops are prohibitive but amazon appears to sell the same pump for way less.

SHURflo Industrial Pump - 198 GPH, 115 Volt, 1/2in., Model# 2088-594-154

Any thoughts?

Yeast and Fermentation / Jolly pumpkin dregs
« on: December 19, 2014, 03:23:55 PM »
I managed to acquire several bottles of Jolly Pumpkin (big fan) of which I am hoping to harvest the dregs and add to a little wort to sustain them until I'm ready to toss into some wort.  Does anyone know if the yeast and/or bugs located within the bottles are all the same or different for each bottle?  Do sour beers like Jolly Pumpkin typically contain live cultures of lactobacillus or Pedio?

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